Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Day 14 - Redding

Ah, back in the flat valley... Oh wait, is that a good thing?

Yesterday, so very long ago, I drove the length of Lake Tahoe from state line to state line on the California side. If you're a fan of curvy mountain roads, may I suggest California Highway 89? Not only does it go past Tahoe, but the rest of it is quite a nice drive, also. And not nearly so many cars as Highway 1. 89 is a natural road, in that it goes around and over the topography instead of cutting through it.

Anyway, here are some pictures from along that road and that lake:



Northwest of Tahoe is the infamous Donner Pass, where that ill-fated group of families tried crossing the Sierra Nevada too late and got stuck for the winter. They set up several far-flung cabins in the creek valley. Some of the cabins fared better than others. A couple families had no fatalities and didn't have to eat anybody. The others didn't do so well. When the final rescue party found the last survivor, he was cannibalizing his compatriots instead of eating the oxen meat exposed by the melting snow.

Here's a picture of the monument with a 22'-high base (the depth of the snow that winter). Curiously enough, that area didn't have a winter that bad for the next hundred years.


And now to today. Lassen Volcanic National Park. (Didn't it used to be a National Monument? I know Death Valley switched from Monument to Park. Why are they changing them?) The big area of bubbling sulfuric goo was closed off because of several feet of snow, but a smaller area down the hill was still accessible.

This hole was gurgling and spattering gray mud. The others steamed. ... It's probably a good thing they closed the trail to the snowed-in Bumpass Hell. We wouldn't want anybody losing the hidden boardwalk trail and slipping into a scalding vent.

At the top of the road, the lakes still had snow and ice covering them. Here's Lassen Peak with Lake Helen in the foreground:

And then down, down, down into the Central Valley. Lassen Peak on the horizon to the west, Mt. Shasta on the horizon to the north, if you can see between trees and/or buildings.

I haven't been this close to sea level since Death Valley. In Redding, there's a foot bridge spanning the Sacramento River designed by the famous Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava. Very cool. It has a dual function, too. It's a sundial. I was there at 2:45, it told me.


Up in the snow at Lassen was a quite comfortable temperature, but it's rather hot down here. I don't want to know the numbers.

1 comment:

Geographicallychallenged said...

How can you take a picture of the sun without ruining the camera exposure or your eyes? My eyes hurt just looking at the picture.

The first picture deceived me. I thought it was complete after 2/5 down, but the beauty kept on coming.